Busch Gardens is unlike most other local theme parks due to its more than 12,000 exotic animal inhabitants. Along with some of Florida’s most thrilling attractions, the park features a variety of species from around the world. Parkgoers can get even more animal action by going behind the scenes at Busch Gardens during special up-close experiences.
Tours & Encounters
NEW! Australia Insider Tour
Cost: $29.99 per person
On Busch Gardens Tampa’s newest tour, you can go behind the scenes at Kangaloom for an up-close look at kangaroos, wallabies, and emus. The Australia Insider tour provides guests with the opportunity to feed the critters and learn more about Australia’s iconic inhabitants. Reservations for the 15-minute adventure are recommended due to limited space.
NEW! Ultimate Insider Tour
Cost: $149.99 per person
The Ultimate Insider Tour is an exclusive behind the scenes experience that is only available when Busch Gardens Tampa isn’t open to the public. The three-hour walking tour allows you to explore the park with zoo team and learn all the secrets to caring for park’s animal residents. Enjoy up-close encounters with elephants, sloths, and penguins, hand-feed giraffes, meet a rhino, and more surprise animal interactions
NEW! Animal Training Tour
Cost: $99.99 per person
Also available when the park is closed to the public is the Animal Training Tour. During the two-hour adventure, you will meet with Busch Gardens’ animal experts to learn the basics of animal training. The experience includes an exclusive training session with some of the park’s most popular residents!
NEW! Keeper For a Day Tour
Cost: $199.99 per person
If you’ve ever wanted to know what a day in the life of Busch Gardens’ animal care team is like, you might want to experience the Keeper For a Day Tour. This crash course in zookeeping takes place when the park is not open to the public. The four-hour walking tour includes conversations with animal care specialists, up-close animal encounters, a personalized name tag, and more. You can choose from three different tour options, including:
- Animal Ambassador Tour: Get up-close to flamingos, sloths, tortoises, and more by helping the team feed and care for the critters.
- Australia Tour: Meet kangaroos, wallabies, and lorikeets as you learn what it takes to care for them daily.
- Elephant Tour: Get a firsthand look at how the animal care team feeds, trains, and works with the majestic Asian elephants.
Cost: $59.99 per person
The Sloth Encounter allows you to hang with the park’s fan favorite creature during a 30-minute walking tour. You’ll learn about the sloths’ lifestyle and diet, see where they hang out each day, and even get to interact with one of the slow moving animals.
Animal Ambassador Insider
Cost: $19.99 per person
As an Animal Ambassador Insider, you can take part in an interactive training session with the experts! During this experience, you’ll join the experts in the Animal Connections flamingo habitat. While feeding the pink critters their favorite snack, you’ll see how they behave and interact with their keepers.
Private VIP Rhino Safari
Cost: $599 per party (Up to 12 guests)
Join animal keepers for a private off-road safari to meet the giraffes and rhinos living at Busch Gardens. The 45-minute adventure allows you to get even closer to the massive animals on the Serengeti Plain. Park experts will answer any questions you may have about caring for the exotic creatures while you meet Jody the endangered black rhino for snack time. In addition to the up-close rhino encounter, you will have the opportunity to hand feed giraffes.
Hippo Insider Tour
As you tour the Edge of Africa, you can get up-close to some amazing African species including the park’s hippos. During the walking tour, Animal Care Specialists will display how they feed, enrich, and protect the exotic animals daily.
Elephant Insider Tour
Cost: $29.99 per person
If you dream of getting close to one of the world’s largest land mammals, then the Elephant Insider Tour is a perfect choice. Guests of this experience will get the chance to tour the care facility and learn how the keepers train and feed the giant Asian elephants. The keepers will also provide insights on how conservation efforts in Asia and Africa are supported by the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund. You must be 10 years or older to join this 30-minute tour.
Aldabra Insider Tour
Cost: $19.99 per person
The Aldabra Tortoise Tour is a new addition to the insider experiences offered at Busch Gardens Tampa. The one of a kind kid-friendly tour allows guests age 5 and older to look around the habitat of one of the largest tortoises in the world. Tour participants will meet zoo specialists as well as help make snacks in the Animal Care Center and join in the tortoises’ enrichment activities.
Penguin Insider Tour
Cost: $29.99 per person
At Penguin Point people taking the Penguin Insider Tour will meet with Busch Gardens’ team of penguin keepers and learn how the experts care for the warm weathered African penguins, a highly endangered species. The 30 minute walking tour is open to all guests who are 5 years old or older.
The ultimate animal experience at Busch Gardens Tampa is the award-winning Serengeti Safari. During the 30-minute guided tour, guests will travel across 65 acres of Serengeti Plain in an open-air touring vehicle. The excursion takes riders on a wild journey, getting up close to African wildlife. Animals on the plain include giraffes, zebras, ostriches, rhinos, and a variety of antelope species. In addition to the amazing views, guests on the safari will get to hand-feed giraffes and enjoy once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunities.
Currently, additional precautions are in place on the Serengeti Safari Tour, including:
- Limited capacity and socially distanced party sizes
- Required face coverings over the nose and mouth for the entire tour
- Hand washing stations to use before and after the tour
- Photos are welcome, but Busch Gardens Ambassadors can not handle personal cameras/devices
The Serengeti Safari costs $29.99 per person. Make sure your reservation for the Safari is on the same day as your park reservation! For cost-free observation of the incredible African wildlife, just hop aboard the Serengeti Express. The park’s train system offers great views of the free-roaming animals while traveling. The locomotive makes stops at the Congo, Nairobi, and Stanleyville train stations.
Animal Connections is Busch Gardens Tampa’s main attraction when it comes to up-close animal interactions. Guests of all ages will enjoy learning how the park’s animal ambassadors care for the resident critters. The experts will also explain how the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Conservation fund protects animals all around the world. Other activities at Animal Connections include hand-feeding flamingos and watching how the park’s sloths behave.
Animal Care Center
At the Animal Care Center, guests can closely observe or even join in the animal care experience. Inside Busch Gardens’ state-of-the-art facility, you have the unique opportunity to see the experts in action. Animal care practices you’ll see include nutrition, treatments, X-Rays, surgeries, and more.
The Animal Care Center is also the backdrop for the Emmy-nominated television series “The Wildlife Docs”. The series gives viewers an inside look at the work of zoological professionals. The Wildlife Docs includes Busch Gardens’ resident veterinarians and trainers. It offers incredible insights into how they care for more than 200 different animal species in the park.
Currently, the Animal Care Center is only open to guests for a limited number of hours per day.